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Motorcycle Insurance During Winter: 3 Options to Consider

Many of us prefer to store our motorcycles for the cold season. But should we pay for the motorcycle insurance during winter? Or can we save a few dollars without too much risk?

Let me give you a sneak peek at a few options we’ll uncover. First up – the temptation to cancel completely is strong when cash is tight, but is it really worth it long term? What about this “lay-up” thing some companies offer – sounds interesting but what does it actually cover?

And finally, raising the deductible seems like a no-brainer to knock down premiums, but how much can you expect to save really? We’ll do the math.

We’ll explore 3 key motorcycle insurance options to consider during the winter months. We’ll break down the pros and cons of each plan, helping you choose the best fit to keep your bike protected and save you money.

The Options You Can Choose for Motorcycle Insurance During Winter

We’ll explore the various insurance options available during the winter season. Get insights into how you can tailor your coverage to match your needs and circumstances without compromising with financial protection for your motorcycles.

Here’s a quick comparison chart to give you an idea about these three options:

Cost Savings Reinstatement Protection Riding Flexibility Overall Assessment
Canceling Insurance None during canceled months Small refund for unpaid months Possible fees or higher future rates No protection while canceled No coverage even for rare rides Not recommended due to future risks
Lay-Up Insurance Coverage suspended for selected months Lower rates for suspended coverage Easy to restart full coverage Theft and damage coverage Usually allows 1 ride/month Good option for safe storage months
Raising Deductible Full coverage year-round Reduced monthly premiums N/A – stayed insured Full protection maintained Ride as normal with deductible Best for occasional riders to maximize savings

Option 1: Canceling the Insurance

Canceling your motorcycle insurance during winter might seem like a quick way to save money, but there are potential drawbacks to consider.

We’ll explore the pros and cons, including the risk of being uninsured and facing reinstatement fees later.

a. Fees Can Eat Into Savings

A lot of times, insurance companies will charge you a fee for canceling your policy early. They might keep $30 or even more of your refund.

So if your policy is $500 for 6 months, you might only get $470 back after paying a fee. So the “savings” isn’t really that much.

b. Insurers May Not Renew

We’ve all heard stories of people having a hard time finding new insurance after canceling their old policy. The companies don’t like seeing that you only insure for part of the year.

They may find it problematic that you may only pay when it’s convenient. Then what happens if you crash in the “uninsured” months? They don’t want to take that risk.

motorcycle insurance cancellation
The Insurer May Refuse to Renew Upon Cancelation. Image Credit: Mikhail Nilov/Pexels

Bob from our riding club learned this the hard way. He canceled his policy every winter for years to save a hundred bucks.

But last spring, no one would insure him for a reasonable rate. He ended up paying double what he was paying before. Definitely not worth the short term savings!

c. Risk of Storage Damage

Even if the bike sits in the garage, things can still happen over a few months. Mice or rats could chew wires.

A roof or pipe leak could damage electronics. Maybe one sunny day you get an itch to ride and something goes wrong. Without coverage, those repairs would be 100% out of your pocket.

Jenna spent over a grand fixing her bike after a mouse chewed through some important stuff over the winter. She thought nothing could happen just leaving it be. But one small creature caused a big headache. Insurance could’ve protected her from that nasty surprise.

Ultimately, the small savings from canceling motorcycle insurance might not outweigh the risks of being uninsured or facing reinstatement fees and potentially higher rates later.


  • Small refund:¬†Get a partial refund for unused months of coverage.


  • Re-instatement fees:¬†May face fees to restart coverage later.
  • Higher future rates:¬†Insurers might charge more after a lapse.
  • No coverage:¬†Bike is unprotected from theft, damage, or vandalism.

Option 2: Lay-Up Insurance Policies

Some companies have something called “lay-up” coverage that’s perfect for winter weather. It’s basically a pause on your regular motorcycle policy.

Things like liability for accidents are suspended since no one’s riding. But you still get protection for theft or damage to the stored bike.

a. Peace of Mind During Storage

Lay-up coverage gives you hassle-free protection over the cold months. A friend of mine signs up for it every year. She knows her bike is safe even sitting for months on end.

Last winter some vandals broke into the storage unit, but thankfully they left her motorcycle alone. Her lay-up insurance covered repairs to the door they damaged. Better to be protected than taking a risk!

b. Coverage For Rare Winter Rides

With lay-up policies, you have options. Some will allow you to keep a small amount of liability coverage, just in case.

You never know when you might get a warm day that makes you want to take the bike out. As long as the roads are clear, a quick sunny spin could be nice.

riding in winter
You’ll Get Coverage for Occasional Winter Riding. Image Credit: Syed Qaarif Andrabi/Pexels

c. Ideal For Strict Winter Storage

Lay-up insurance works really well if you fully put the bike in hibernation during the colder months. It suspends full coverage but keeps important protection from things like fire or theft for just a fraction of the regular price.

Winter motorcycle lay-up insurance can be a budget-friendly option, offering valuable protection for your bike while it’s in storage at a significantly reduced cost compared to full coverage.


  • Reduced cost:¬†Pay less for suspended coverage during storage months.
  • Theft & damage protection:¬†Keeps your bike insured against theft or damage.
  • Flexible riding:¬†Some plans allow occasional winter rides with minimal coverage.


  • Limited coverage:¬†Liability for accidents typically isn’t covered.
  • Not for all storage:¬†May require secure storage locations for coverage.
  • Availability:¬†Not all insurers offer lay-up policies.

Option 3: Raising Your Deductible

Opting to raise your deductible is a strategic choice that can impact your insurance premiums. By accepting a higher out-of-pocket expense in the event of a claim, you can often enjoy reduced monthly insurance costs.

a. Lower Premiums With A Higher Deductible

Most insurance companies let you pick your deductible when you sign up. A deductible is how much you agree to pay out of pocket if you need to make a claim.

The higher that amount, the lower your premiums will be each month. Makes sense right? You’re taking on more risk yourself in exchange for cheaper rates.

Let’s say, you can raise your deductible to $500 and save over $30 a month according to quotes from your insurer. That adds up to over $360 in annual savings just by adjusting the deductible.

b. Big Discounts For Minimal Extra Risk

Some companies guarantee percentage discounts the higher your deductible goes. We saw 35% savings with a $1,000 deductible in one example.

You’d have to experience some serious repair costs to actually pay that much out of pocket. And you’re saving hundreds per year in the process.

raising deductible discount
You’ll Get Big Discounts for Raising Your Deductible. Image Credit: Karolina Grabowska/Pexels

c. Long-Term Savings By Keeping It High

Once you up your deductible, you might as well leave it there to keep reaping the rewards most of the year. My policy lets me hold my deductible at $500 all year long now that I changed it.

Some folks lower it back in summer, but you have to do the math. Leaving it at the higher amount may save you over $100 annually versus switching it twice a year.

If you ride less in winter, the small bump in risk will be well worth that extra cash in your pocket every renewal.

d. Works Great For Occasional Riders

If you’re not commuting on your bike daily, upping your deductible makes fantastic sense as a year-round thing.

Kara and her husband ride a few times a month at most between their schedules. The discount they get more than offsets the slim chance they’ll need to use that deductible amount.

By keeping that higher bar in place twelve months out of the year, occasional riders like them maximize the long-term discounts. It adds up significantly over several years of insurance.

For most of us, raising the deductible a few hundred dollars leads to good ongoing savings without adding major risk. A small price to pay to bring premium costs down each month if you ask me.


  • Lower premiums:¬†Enjoy significant monthly savings on your insurance costs.
  • Good for occasional riders:¬†Less risk if you rarely ride during winter.
  • Year-round benefit:¬†Keep the higher deductible for continued savings throughout the year.


  • Higher out-of-pocket costs:¬†Pay more upfront if you need to make a claim.
  • Not ideal for frequent riders:¬†May not be suitable if you ride often in winter.
  • Potential claim review:¬†Insurer might scrutinize claims with a high deductible.

The Wrap-up

There are a few options to consider for insuring your bikes during winter months when riding isn’t possible.

Canceling your policy can seem tempting for short term savings, but in the long run it may cost you more through reinstatement fees and higher future rates. That small refund isn’t worth the risk of losing coverage or huge rate hikes down the road.

Lay-up policies offer the flexibility to suspend unneeded coverage parts for storage months while still providing protection from damage, theft, or the rare sunny day ride. It’s a smart compromise for continuous coverage at a lower cost.

Raising your deductible slashes monthly premiums too, often by 30% or more according to examples we saw. As long as you’re not riding daily, boosting that deductible brings great savings with fairly minimal extra risk.

If I had to recommend the best path, I’d say either go with a lay-up insurance plan or look into raising your deductible. Both let you keep the security of active coverage through the winter, just streamlined to save some cash. Canceling offers short lived savings that may end up costing more in the long run.

FAQs About Winter Motorcycle Insurance

What if I store my bike out of state for the winter?

Check with your insurer about coverage in other locations. You may need a lay-up policy or non-garaging endorsement to ensure protection if stolen or damaged while stored elsewhere.

Are there limitations on lay-up policies?

Some insurers only allow lay-up for 6 months max or certain winter calendar periods. Read fine print on allowable lay-up timeframes.

Can I insure an unregistered bike over winter?

Many insurers won’t cover unregistered bikes. Make sure yours is still properly registered if taking a lay-up policy or storage will be considered “operating without registration.”

How does raising my deductible impact claims history?

Your claims won’t be affected, but insurer may review your account if multiple at-fault claims are filed under a higher deductible.

What if I want to do minor maintenance while it’s stored?

Lay-up policies may still cover incidents during maintenance as long as bike isn’t being operated. Contact insurer for clarification on coverage for winter motor work.

How far in advance do I need to arrange lay-up coverage?

Varies by company, but give 2-4 weeks notice before your policy’s renewal for them to process the lay-up agreement. Don’t let coverage accidentally lapse.

Can I raise my deductible just for the winter?

No, most insurers won’t allow temporary deductible changes. However, you can explore “lay-up” insurance, which reduces coverage for storage months and might be cheaper.

What happens if my motorcycle gets stolen during winter storage?

If your policy is active (not canceled), theft coverage should apply even during storage. File a police report and notify your insurer ASAP.

What to do if my motorcycle insurance lapses during winter?

Contact your insurer immediately to reinstate coverage. You might face fees and potentially higher rates due to the lapse. Getting quotes from other insurers might be worthwhile.

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